De Beste Datingsites
This year Mashable is celebrating the season of love with Horny on Main, an exploration of the many ways that thirsting for sex affects our lives.
For something so many of us participate in willingly, dating can be terrifying in its uncertainty. The early dates with a new partner are particularly anxiety-inducing: In many cases, you simply sit in a bar for several hours drinking watery cocktails and trying to figure out in what way, if any, you like the person across from you.
At some point, you also have to figure out whether the two of you are going to hook up, which is, among other things, a logistical nightmare. (Yes, it can also be fun, fulfilling, etc., but that’s not what this story is about.) If you mutually decide the answer is yes, a few questions will arise naturally: Whose apartment are you going to? How are you going to get there? Is a sleepover happening, and if so will both parties be able to brush their teeth? Will they be allergic to your cat? What if you take your contact lenses (dailies) out, then realize you didn’t bring a replacement pair or your glasses, rendering you unable to see on your way home and ultimately leading to your grisly death on the subway tracks?
To combat some of this anxiety, many people assemble a kit of items they like to take with them on dates, just in case. A lot of these items are personal hygiene items — toothbrushes, baby wipes, face wash, deodorant — but some people really get creative.
I had a 2nd date and my portable toothbrush fell out of my pocket and I was forced to tell this random man I brush my teeth when I get nervous before a date god doesn’t want me to be happy
— Carol (@ballerguy) January 17, 2020
To find out what people are squirreling away on the off chance they have sex later, I spoke with 15 people about the secret (or not so secret) items in their bags. I also posted an anonymous survey on the subject, which received 45 responses. It’s by no means a comprehensive picture of daters — most respondents were female, for instance, and a little over half identified as straight — but it still provided some interesting insights.
Online dating Skincare
Unsurprisingly, one of the most frequently mentioned categories was skincare. Beauty routines are highly personal; plus, a lot of people are sensitive to particular ingredients, which means the smattering of two-year-old Kiehl’s products in a stranger’s medicine cabinet might not cut it.
Several people told me they pack makeup wipes or a travel-size micellar water at least, so they don’t have to sleep in their makeup. “I’d never normally use wipes but I can’t be bothered fucking around with micellar water and cleanser on a date,” explained Harriet, a 27-year-old London resident.
“I can’t be bothered fucking around with micellar water and cleanser on a date.”
She has a point: Unless you take very seriously, it’s difficult to bring full bottles of skincare products on a date. My colleague Morgan has a genius solution here: She keeps small amounts of azelaic acid and moisturizer in a contact case, which fit neatly into even the tiniest of purses. (With a little finagling, a contact case would even fit into a Jacquemus mini bag.)
Speaking of contact cases, bringing an extra pair of contacts may be a better move than bringing glasses if you’re short on space — even if it’s a pain in the ass to put them in come morning.
Online dating The toothbrush
Then there’s brushing your teeth to consider. Somewhat illogically, bringing a toothbrush to someone else’s home carries a lot of cultural weight. For some people, it comes across as a sign that the other party wants a more serious relationship, even if they just want their teeth to feel less like sweaters.
What do you think is the worst thing you’re saved as in someone’s phone?
I have a contact saved as ‘toothbrush man’ because he brought a toothbrush on a first date.
— Natasha Bardon (@NatashaBardon) August 25, 2019
Writer Beca Grim in a piece for Nylon in 2016. “The toothbrush seems harmless enough in its bare-bones hygienic necessity,” she wrote. “But in a nascent romantic relationship, a toothbrush can double as a flashlight; illuminating deeper feelings about a potential partner. It could be a promise or a threat.”
If that’s where your head’s at, bringing a toothbrush on a first date can feel overconfident — and, of course, contemporary dating culture is obsessed with acting “chill.” That doesn’t stop a lot of brave souls, though. Over 32 percent of survey respondents said they’d bring a toothbrush with them on a date — though, as a few people commented, not necessarily a first date.
Online dating Protection
Keton, a journalist and data scientist in Philadelphia, feels fine bringing most things, but condoms present a bit of anxiety. “I worry it seems presumptuous, or worse, makes the night feel routinized,” he said. “Though not bringing one has also been unfortunate and led to earlier-than-mutually-desired nights and last-minute CVS runs.”
[at the pharmacy]
ME: give me a pack of dick balloons
ME: uh ok I’ll take some of those too
— Swim Jeans👖 (@ShortSleeveSuit) February 5, 2020
And the fear of seeming presumptuous — i.e. like you thought the hookup was a sure thing — goes beyond which items you pack. For some people, it’s keeping the fact that you packed anything subtle no matter what. A few men (including Zach) said that keeping their supplies out of sight is difficult, since they don’t generally carry a bag.
SEE ALSO: Sex is better with the lights on
“As a man it’s way easier in the winter because I can keep everything I need in coat pockets subtly without looking presumptuous,” said Sean, a 31-year-old news producer in New York. Men, if you don’t carry a bag, now might be the time to get one.
Online dating How much is enough?
Women, of course, face never-ending pressure to seem “chill,” a facade they risk breaking if they exceed some arbitrary, nebulous number of packed items. Still, I heard from more than a few women whose supply kits are extremely well-considered: clear Muji pouches, folding toothbrushes, sunglasses, a surprising number of Colgate Wisps, the whole deal.
The first date vs. later date distinction came up with things besides toothbrushes, too. One survey respondent, for instance, only packs “bare minimum shit” (her glasses and an extra pair of underwear) for first dates, but will pack makeup remover, basic skincare items, mascara, makeup for the next day, and a clean shirt if she’s hooked up with the person before. Zach, a 25-year-old screenwriter who lives in Brooklyn, told me he’ll bring deodorant and a toothbrush from the second date on, but never brings anything on first dates.
[ date ]
her: i like a man that plans for the future
me: i have extra underwear in my pocket
— Taming Fred Savage (@FredTaming) October 24, 2019
“That feels too presumptuous,” he said.
One of the most impressive plans I learned about came from Melissa, a 25-year-old student in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her items struck me because they weren’t just about aesthetics or hygiene — some were focused on safety. After all, dating can be dangerous for women, particularly in situations where the parties don’t know each other. Bringing things like extra cash and pepper spray mitigates some of that risk, or at least adds a perceived layer of comfort.
“If I wear my daily contacts on a date I always have my sunglasses for the trek home — saves next day makeup and hangover concerns,” she said. “Travel face wash because I can’t use wipes due to sensitivity. Spare flats if I wear heels out. Emergency cash in case I gotta make an escape and [take a] cab if my phone dies. Meds always. Hair ties. Travel mouthwash since loose toothbrushes weird me out. And I always wear a sensible coat because I live in Canada.”
Online dating The thrill of minimalism
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the anti-preppers: People who pack nothing not because they think it looks weird, but because it feels contrary to the up-in-the-air excitement of the meetup itself. “Part of the fun of a hookup is being gross in the morning,” said one survey respondent, who only packs extra underwear, medication, and a phone charger. (These are, incidentally, the three items people mentioned the most frequently.) She has a point: Deviating from your normal routine can be a thrill.
Others don’t bring anything because they don’t want to jinx their chances of getting laid, almost like they don’t want to appear presumptuous to themselves. In fact, 52 percent of survey respondents said they’d worried their over-preparedness would jinx an otherwise good date.
“I bring absolutely nothing because I feel like it’s bad luck,” said Samie, a 24-year-old talent acquisition specialist in Memphis. “I’m just reckless AF.”
Of course, it’s a mistake to presume that a good date will turn into a hookup will turn into a sleepover. Anyone who has ever dated know that’s not a blueprint for how dates actually — or should — go. Plenty of wonderful dates don’t turn into hookups, and plenty of great hookups aren’t borne of flawless interpersonal connections. And it bears repeating that, if you do hook up with someone, you’re not obligated to let someone stay with you. Nor are you required to sleep at their home if you don’t want to — which may help you avoid a packing list entirely.
Perhaps consider the wise words of Amy, a 27-year-old software engineer in Brooklyn who has no need to pack anything. “Honestly I bring nothing because I would literally never spend the night at a man’s house,” she said in a truly wonderful tweet. “Call me an Uber and let me be on my way.”